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Dutch Activists Call for Referendum on EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Author: Ayre от 2.08.2015, 11:00
(голосов: 1)
European Parliament gives green light to EU–Ukraine agreement

The Dutch EU Citizens' Committee, backed by the Geenstijl (No Style) blog, have called for the public to have a say on ratifying the agreement, which was signed by Brussels and Kiev last year, and approved by Dutch parliament earlier this month.

Vam Rossem, editor at Geenstijl, told Sputnik that holding such a referendum would be crucial to ensuring the public's democratic right isn't lost within the ever-expanding EU.

"We first and foremost see this referendum as a signal that there needs to be more democracy in the EU. We need to have a bigger say in European political developments and expansion because it is growing beyond our democratic reach, and that matter is a threat to Dutch wellbeing and also for people in other different countries."

He also raised concerns about the potential erosion of the public's power when it came to European issues.

"Corporations have more profitable use for the EU. It's more the people who are slowly losing their democratic voice in the ever-growing and ever-expanding European Union."


Association Agreement — "Provocation and Threat"


In particular, critics have raised concern about Brussels' stance against Russia in relation to Ukraine, with the Citizens' Committee labeling the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement as a "a provocation and a threat" to the wellbeing of Europeans.

Mr Rossem said there were other concerns about the EU's seemingly rapid expansion into areas that might not meet the bloc's criteria.

"The EU is developing towards areas where they are not necessarily shared values — cultural values, economic values — with the rest of the European Union, and this is going at such a speed that we are having difficulty in bridging these differences.

"As we see now with the Greece-euro crisis, there are differences that aren't easily bridged, but they [the EU] still try and do it at a really high speed and we think they need to stop and think about the next step."

Basing his estimates on recent polls and opinions of the public, Mr Rossem believes that the public could well be in favor of voting 'No' in any potential referendum on the EU-Ukraine agreement. 

The campaigners need to raise 10,000 signatures by August 6 to file a parliamentary request, which then needs to be followed up by another 300,000 signatures within the following six weeks to have any chance of securing a referendum.

While any potential vote would be non-binding, it's thought that it would carry great weight in shaping the country's policy in relation to Ukraine.


Dutch Media "Ignored European Influence on Maidan"


On top of criticism of the EU's stance towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Rossem also believes that the Dutch media played a role in underplaying and neglecting to report the EU's involvement in inciting the Maidan protests. 


"Many people feel that the Dutch media ignored the fact that European interference in Kiev incited this violent crisis in part. There have been attempts from Brussels over the past few years to come to an association bid with Ukraine, and those talks and meetings helped to spark pro-EU protests in Kiev and in Maidan square, which eventually led to what is going on now in eastern Ukraine."

He also told Sputnik that Russia was being used as a convenient excuse to explain the ongoing troubles in Ukraine.

"There seems to be an undertone of blaming Russia for everything that has gone on and an unwillingness to be critical of our own political and international handling of what has gone on."

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